13 Oct 2017
Taoyuan City, Taiwan – Protesters strike again, this time with a coffin, at Master Remembrance Day, one of the most important events on Bliss and Wisdom’s calendar. After the founder of the Bliss and Wisdom movement, Master Jih-Chang, died in 2004, presumptive successor guru Mary Jin initiated Master Remembrance Day to commemorate the late master, and assure followers that Bliss and Wisdom would continue to follow Master’s direction in spite of his death.
During Master’s Remembrance Day, Bliss and Wisdom followers gather at indoor stadiums to listen to videos, presentations, speeches and performances commemorating Master Jih-Chang and trumpeting the latest achievements of the organization. During previous iterations of Master Remembrance Day, Bliss and Wisdom rented Linkou Stadium in Taoyuan City, as well as Kaohsiung Arena for the event. Overseas centers of Bliss and Wisdom also commemorate the occasion, and centers with a larger congregation, like Singapore and Hong Kong, will often rent conference halls or stadiums to house the crowd. In previous years, BW’s Master Remembrance Day at Linkou Stadium could attract a crowd of up to 15,000, but according to reports this year’s crowd has shrunk significantly to 6,000.
Taiwanese news media reported that BW followers protesting outside Linkou Stadium unfurled banners, shouted slogans and even brought in a coffin to symbolize their grievances against Mary Jin for the suspicious circumstances surrounding Master Jih-Chang’s death. Police were at the scene to maintain order.
What follows is a report by Life Daily Taiwan:
(By reporter Mai Huan Le from Taoyuan) Buddhist organization Bliss and Wisdom Foundation has been holding Master Remembrance Day at Linkou Stadium from 13 Oct for three days. Every day, 15,000 devotees will participate in events commemorating Master Jih-Chang’s death and express gratitude for his teachings. But the successor of Bliss and Wisdom, Inc, Mary Jin Mengrong, has been accused of seizing control of the organization illegitimately, forging Master Jih-Chang’s will and forcing senior monks and committee members to sign it. Circumstances surrounding Master Jih-Chang’s death aroused controversy among forensic scientists and religious figures. Aggrieved devotees brought in a coffin to the protest as a symbol of Master Jih-Chang’s wrongful death, and demanded that authorities investigate.
The coffin protesters said that they were devotees and students of Bliss and Wisdom. They found it ludicrous that a large sangha was in fact led by Mary Jin Mengrong – a lay woman with long hair. She has been alleged to live together with monks, and attempted to conceive “holy babies” with them. In the Buddhist community where purity is valued, this is shocking news.
A Bliss and Wisdom follower protesting at the scene, Mr Huang, said that the suspicious circumstances surrounding Master Jih-Chang’s death have been subject to speculation for many years, but many doubts were suppressed. Last month, at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Brightness of Chandrakirti Monastery, protesters questioned the whereabouts of donations, spurring media coverage. A forensic scientist publicly highlighted the suspicious circumstances surrounding Master Jih-Chang’s death, finally bringing the skeletons out of the closet.
Bliss and Wisdom founder Master Jih-Chang traveled to Xiamen, China in Oct 2004 to recuperate from an illness. He originally hired a respiratory doctor from Taiwan to accompany him, but the doctor was sent back to Taiwan the day after he arrived in Xiamen. Mary Jin Mengrong hired a fresh graduate from a Chinese medical school to treat Master Jih-Chang, but he died suddenly a week later. The scene at his deathbed was horrifying – his eyes were bulging, his face turned black, his fists were clenched and his mouth was wide open. A forensic scientist interviewed on television said that these were signs of an unnatural death. Because Master was ill from tuberculosis, sudden death was unlikely. Religious scholar Professor Chiang Tsan-Teng also expressed that the circumstances surrounding Master Jih-Chang’s death were very illogical and incoherent.
Only a few days after Master Jih-Chang died, Mary Jin Mengrong gave orders for the body to be cremated, but no relics were formed. Despite that, Bliss and Wisdom’s first abbot Venerable Fan Yin said that Mary Jin Mengrong claimed that Master Jih-Chang’s body formed many colorful relics during cremation, and even created a stupa to hold the purported relics. Mary Jin Mengrong has been accused of lying and forgery.
Master Jih-Chang formally appointed Venerable Ru Zheng as successor in a public ceremony in 2003, and expressed that His Holiness the Dalai Lama approved of it. This was publicly documented on Bliss and Wisdom’s magazine Voice. But Bliss and Wisdom director-general Lu Ke-Jhou asked all senior monks and committee members to sign a document purported to be Master Jih-Chang’s last wishes. The process was done hastily and carelessly, like signing an attendance sheet. That document did not proclaim Mary Jin Mengrong as successor, was not a will, nor did it contain Master Jih-Chang’s signature, but was later contrived to become Master Jih-Chang’s will. Therefore, was Master Jih-Chang’s will completely fake?
After this long-haired lady “guru” Mary Jin Mengrong took control of Bliss and Wisdom, devotees’ donations were not transparently accounted for. For over ten years, much of Bliss and Wisdom’s donations were diverted overseas on the pretext of propagating Buddhism and training monks. These funds were used for property purchases in Kunming (Yunnan Province, Mainland China), Canada, Singapore and Taiwan. It is sick that Mary Jin Mengrong possesses luxurious mansions for her personal use. These are not fabrications but the truth. Devotees hope that the government and concerned parties will investigate.
These are links to news reports carried by Taiwanese media:
13 Oct 2017 National Travel Times Taiwan：福智林口法會‧信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異‧冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 Life Daily Taiwan: 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 TNN Taiwan National Net： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲 （Link 2， Link 3）
15 Oct 2017 Focus News： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 Life Times： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 Cross-strait United Daily News： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 Asia Media： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 Sina Times Taiwan： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
15 Oct 2017 Taoyuan News Online： 福智林口法會信眾抬棺抗議 師父死因詭異冒出奪權疑雲
23 Oct 2017 Finger Media: 福智高雄法會民眾又來抗爭 一昧蒙蔽真相難息社會質疑